Castlevania est mort, vive la Castlevania!

Take a video journey back to the series' brilliant origins.

There doesn't seem to be much life left in Castlevania's veins these days. Some reissues here and there, enticing new vinyl releases for rare and classic soundtracks, a Smash Bros. cameo every now and again... that's all good, but it's not, you know, a new game. Luckily, Retronauts is a backward-facing venture, so we're totally justified in casting our gaze back to the olden days, when Castlevania had nothing before it but boundless potential and a bright future.

This week's Video Chronicles episode dives back into the original Castlevania for NES, which is one of those extraordinarily rare works where a developer tried out a new idea and completely nailed it on the first go. Not only that, but if you've been following NES Works, you'll be struck by how much better Castlevania was than nearly any other game that preceded it. Only Super Mario Bros. compares in terms of quality and self-assurance. Konami was a monster back on NES, and this game sums up the whys and wherefores of their creative dominance perfectly.

Personally, I didn't actually come across Castlevania until seeing an ad for the sequel, which I found intriguing enough that it drove me to hunt down the first game. (This was more challenging than you might expect back in 1988, thanks to chip shortages and games going out of print for half a year at a time.) It clicked with me immediately, and as you can see from the footage in this episode, the muscle memory of my many, many playthroughs of the game still stick with me.